Emily Ryan

Document Type


Degree Comments

Submitted to the College of Graduate Studies Bridgewater State University Bridgewater, Massachusetts In partial fulfillment of the requirement for the Degree of Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Degree Program

Criminal Justice

Degree Type

Master of Science in Criminal Justice


The purpose of this thesis is to explore the relationship between domestic violence and animal abuse with the goal of adding to the literature in this area. This study collected data from domestic violence and homeless shelters across the United States by sending a questionnaire via email. Two themes emerged based on the questionnaire responses, first, shelters reported that victims disclosed their fear of leaving an abusive situation due to abuse or threat of abuse to a family pet. And second, shelters indicated that they are unable to accommodate pets due to either, health and safety reasons, or financial difficulties. It may be that women are not seeking shelter due to the lack of a pet accommodation, and as a result are more likely to be the victim of a violent situation at the hands of their abuser. Considering the themes that emerged from the responses collected during this study, there is not only a need for pet accommodation within shelters, but also logistical and financial support for the shelters that cannot make these accommodations.


Jennifer Hartsfield, Thesis Advisor

Michael DeValve, Thesis Committee Member

Christopher Bloch, Thesis Committee Member